By Onozure Dania
The absence of counsel to alleged billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, yesterday, stalled the hearing in his case before a Lagos High Court, sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square TBS.
Evans is standing trial on two separate charges, bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder, before Justice Adedayo Akintoye.
In the first charge, Evans is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba.
In the second charge, he is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Victor Aduba and Linus Okpara.
At the resumed hearing, of the case yesterday, the Lagos State Prosecutor, Mr Babatunde Sumonu, told the court that the case was for mention.
Mr B. C. Mbam and Mr O. A. Egbogbo, however, announced their appearance as counsel for the second and fourth defendants in the first charge. The first defendant, Evans, told the court that his counsel was Mr Victor Opara and he did not know why the lawyer was not in court.
Also the third defendant, Nwachukwu, said his lawyer was aware of the proceeding date but did not know why the lawyer was absent.
In the second charge, Evans’ lawyer was also absent while counsel for other defendants were present.
However, Mr C. J. Jiakponna, counsel to the fourth defendant (Linus Okpara) urged the court for a date to move his client’s bail application.
Jiakponna said that the application had taken a long time.
In his response, the prosecutor said that they had filed a counter-affidavit for the bail application.
Justice Akintoye, however, adjourned the case until January, 21 for hearing of the bail application and ordered that hearing notices be issued to Evans counsel.
On October, 23, 2019, Justice Akintoye, had admitted as evidence the confessional statement of Evans which its admissibility was contested in a trial within trial.
Evans had on January 16, 2020, told the court that his confessional statement after his arrest sometime in 2017, was made under duress.
He stated that he signed the papers given to him by the police with fear not to be tortured to death.